1 SARTONIANA Volume Sarton Chair ofthe History ofsciences University ofghent, Belgium
2 ISSN ISBN X D/2004/2249/4 Communication and Cognition, Blandijnberg 2, B-9000 Ghent Belgium No part of this book may be reproduced in any form, by print, photoprint, microfilm, or any other means without prior written permission from the publishers. Subscription to SARTONIANA becomes effective upon payment of BEF 650,- (incl. postage) on banking account No of ~ SARTONIANA, Ghent, Belgium or by sending a check of USD to SARTONIANA, Blandijnberg 2, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium, with clear mention ofsubscriber's name and address.
3 CONTENTS Sarton Chair Lectures E. Thoen: Laudatio Gaston Demaree 9 G. R. DEMAREE: The Ancien Regime instrumental Metereological Observations in Belgium or the Physician with Lancet and Thennometer in the Wake ofhippocrates 13 Sarton Medal Lectures M. Thiery: Laudatio Rene Van Tiggelen 43 R. VAN TIGGELEN: Seeing with sounds: from bats to medical ultrasonography 47 P. Jacobs: Laudatio Eric Gioessens 65 E. GROESSENS: Les marbres de Belgique, histoire et sciences 71 D. Heirbaut : Laudatio Jiirgen Weitzel 121 J. WEITZEL: Prinzipien des europaischen Strafrechts im friihen Mittelalter 125 M. Pensaert: Laudatio Marian Horzinek 157 M.C. HORZlNEK: The history of animal virology - Phases in the growth ofa scientific discipline 161 ':t ' " '!f"
5 AUTHORS Prof. dr. E. THOEN. Universiteit Gent, faculteit Letteren en Wijsbegeerte, vakgroep Middeleeuwse Geschiedenis, Blandijnberg 2, B-9000Gent, Belgi~. Dr. G. R. DEMAREE. Koninklijk Meteorologisch Instituut. Ringlaan 3, B 1180 Brussel,.Belgie. Prof. Em. Dr. M. THIERY. Aan de Bocht 6, B-9000 Gent, Belgie. Dr. Em. Ko!. R. VAN TIGGELEN. Belgian Museum of Radiology. Bruynstraat 2, B-1120 Brussel, Belgie. Prof. Dr. P. JACOBS. Universiteit Gent, Geologie en Bodemkunde. Krijgslaan 281 (S8), B-9000 'Gent, Be1gie. Prof. Dr. E. GROESSENS. Institut royal des Sciences naturelles de Belgique, Service Geologique. Rue Jenner 13, B-1000 Bruxelles, Belgique Prof. Dr. D. HERBAUT. Universiteit Gent, faculteit Rechtsgeleerdheid, vakgroep GTondslagen en Geschiedenis van het Recht. Universiteitstraat 4, B-9000 Gent, Belgie. Prof. Dr. J. WEITZEL. Lehrstuhl fur Biirgerliches Recht, Europaische Rechtsgeschichte sowie Zivilprozessrecht. Domerschulstrasse 16, D Wiirzburg, Deutschland. Prof. Em. Dr. M. PENSAERT. Universiteit Gent, faculte~t Diergeneeskunde, vakgroep Virologie-Parasitologie-Immunologie. Salisburylaan 133, B-9820 Merelbeke, Belgie. Prof. Em. Dr. M. C. HORZI;NEK, Utrecht University, Department of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. P.O. Box ID Utrecht, The Netherlands.
7 GEORGESARTONCHAJR ofthe HISTORY OF SCIENCES
8 SARTON CHAIR LECTURES
9 9 Laudatio Gaston DEMAREE Erik Thoen Gaston R. Demaree (63), who is honoured today with the Sarton Chair, is currently the most important scholar of Belgium who studies historical meteorology, historical climatology and historical hydrology, for which he got this 'historical' prize. Most of his important studies were based upon s.c. instrumental observations, which are observations made with instruments such as the thermometer, the barometer, the rain-gauge etc. These kinds of observations are available in the historical sources since the 17th century, although in Belgium we do not know yet serial observations older than the second half of the 18th century. The erection of the KMI (Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium), was a major change in this evolution and from 1833 on Belgium got an advantage over many other countries since observations were made very accurately and based very soon on a very dense network of observation stations. Especially the mathematician Adolphe Quetelet played a major part in this evolution. It is Dr. Demaree who gathered all these data and studied them in a very fundamental way. Therefore we can call him the 'spiritual father' of historical meteorology and historical climatology of Belgium, although, as a scholar he was also active in many other fields, as we will mention below. A few years ago, due to a joined research project between the Royal Meteorological Institute and the Ghent University, I got acquainted with Dr. Demaree as a very enthusiastic scholar. For all the mentioned reasons, Dr. Demaree really deserves more than anyone else this prestigious Sarton chair of the Ghent University, a chair that exists since 1985 and is given yearly to a scholar who did important work in the field ofthe history of sciences. Gaston Rene Demaree was born in 1940 at Torhout in West-Vlaanderen. After his studies at the high school Koninklijk Atheneum Roeselare, he
10 10 studied mathematics at the Free University of Brussels (VUB-Vrije Universiteit te Brussel), at that time the Dutch speaking part of the Universite Libre de Bruxelles. He also got a degree in physics at the ULB. Immediately after his studies, he became a lector in mathematics at the Andes University in Bogota, Colombia and he took this opportunity to discover Latin America. Back in Belgium he became a teacher in mathematics at the Koninklijk Atheneum Koekelberg. When at the VUB, the n~w Department of Science and Environment was erected, he began to study water management with Professor Dr. Jr. Andre Van der Beken. This paved his way to the Royal Meteorological Institute ofbelgium (KMI-IMR) where he first became attache en later assistant of the late Professor Franz Bultot. In this period, he also became responsible for intergovernmental programmes with the World Meteorological Organization in Africa and in Latin America. Meanwhile he had made a PhD in Sciences under the direction of Prof. Dr. Hugo Decleir at the VUB. It was an interdisciplinary study and a statistical analysis ofthe extreme values ofprecipitation in Ukkel as well as ofits climatological as hydrological consequences. In 1989 he became the head ofthe unit ofhydrology ofthe Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium. Since the reorganisation of this institution in 1998 he became the head of the rese~rch unit "Risk Analyses and Sustainable Development" at the Department " Meteorological Research and Development". Nowadays he is acting Head ofthe Research Department. His research is situated in the domain ofrisk analysis ofstorm surges and river floods, surface water hydrology, the study of former instrumental meteorological observations, historical climatology (ofeurope but also of China, Japan, the North Atlantic area,...), the impact of eruptions of volcanoes on climate and so on. He wrote more than 100 papers and reports in mathematics, hydrology and historical climatology in national and international journals and proceedings. Gaston Demaree is a member of scientific organisations such as the Royal Academy of Overseas Sciences (KAOW) and in 2003 he was also the president ofthis Academy.
11 ID my own name, in the name ofthe Department of History ofthe Ghent University, I honestly want to congratulate Dr. Demaree with this most valuable distinction and I hope that in the future both our institutions can continue a most fruitful collaboration. 11
13 13 THE ANCIENREGIME INSTRUMENTAL METEOROLOGICAL OBSERVATIONS IN BELGIUM OR THE PHYSICIAN WITH LANCET AND THERMOMETER IN THE WAKE OFIDPPOCRATES Gaston R. Demaree Celui qui se propose de faire des recherches exactes en inedecine, doit premierement considerer les effets que chaque saison de l'amlee peut produire. "Traite d'hippocrate des airs, des eaux et des lieux", par Coray, Paris (1' An IX, 1800), 1,1. Abstract The paper unravels the close connection that, from the end of the 17 th century until well into the 19 th century, brought together meteorologists and physicians into one common programme. This connection was based upon the works of the Greek physician Hippocrates, and particularly "Airs, Waters, and Places". The ancient doctrine underwent a strong revival in the 18 th century and formed the basis of the founding of the "Societe Royale de Medecine" in Paris. This society, under the direct guidance of the French govermnent, launched a nationwide medicometeorological enquiry. Its goal was to find the relationship between health, weather, climate and also the environment in order to understand the appearance and spread of illnesses, particularly -the epidemics and epizootics. The meteorological observations carried out by the physicians in the framework of the neo-hippocratic hypothesis form the cornerstones of the early meteorological observations in Belgium. Their importance in Global Change is highlighted because of their use in the climate reconstruction over the last hundreds ofyears.
14 14 1. Introduction Since roughly twenty years, climatologists state that a climatic change is going on that cannot be labelled any more as a natural climatic change but is being attributed to the increase of greenhouse gases of anthropogenic origin in the atmosphere. With greenhouse gases are meant, in the first place, carbon dioxide but the latter one is followed by a pleiad of other gases. In order to cope with this point of view, the scientific community, backed up by the decision makers, combines its strength in climatological research along three main lines: Past climates: climate reconstruction, Present climate: climate monitoring Future climate: climate prediction. In order to narrow the uncertainties that are inherently connected with climate modelling, it is necessary to reconstruct the past climates as well as possible in order to ascribe the part of the climatic change that is natural and the part that is greenhouse gases induced. Climatic reconstruction can be carried out by means of a variety of data types that can be subdivided as follows: instrumental climatologic observations (temperature, atmospheric pressure, wind direction and speed, precipitation, snow depth, water level,...) climate-related documents - the discipline sometimes called historical climatology (weather journals, travel journals, newspapers, ship's logs,...) natural climate archives (dendrochronology, ice cores, deep sea cores, tephra layers, speleothems, pollen analysis, corals, sponses,...) indirect or proxy data (levies, grain harvest data, vintage data, freezing oflakes and canals,...).. It are precisely those early meteorological observations, many times carried out by physicians in the 18 th century, that will be instrumental in the climate reconstruction. The paper focuses on the relationship that was
15 thought to exist between weather, climate, health, illnesses and environment and which, as a consequence, induced physicians to engage in meteorological observations in order to understand the spread of epidemics and epizootics The development of climatologic instruments and observational procedures The basic meteorological instruments were invented at the end ofthe 16 th and in the 17 th centuries but they have undergone a long-lasting and important development in the 18 th and 19 th centuries. It is known that the first thermometer was constructed by Galileo Galilei ca and the first barometer by Torricelli in At the end of the 18 th century, the meteorological instruments started to become commercialized and to be spread among the richer bourgeoisie as can be proven by their presence in 'cabinets of natural history', inventories of private libraries and in household and probate inventories (see, e.g., Nuewens, 1779). Still, without doubt, the Austrian Netherlands and the Prince-Bishopric of Liege, that together constituted approximately the present Belgium, possessed a low scientific profile. This had much to do with the forced emigration in the second part of the 16 th century of a large part of the intelligentsia to the North (Blondeau, 1988), the fact that the country was much used by the Great Powers as 'the battlefield of Europe' (Johnson, 1936), while, later on in the 18 th century, the Imperial Court in Vienna did not agree with several scientific proposals for financial reasons (Felix, 1987). Furthermore, the centuries-old University oflouvain had fallen in a kind of lethargy and one had to wait for the founding of the Imperial and Royal Academy of Brussels by the Empress Maria-Theresia in 1773 to see the awakening ofa first co-ordinated scientific activity. The long-lasting development in scientific instruments together with the low intellectual level in Belgium had consequences concerning the starting and the distribution of the early instrumental meteorological observations in this country. Indeed, one has to wait for more than half a
16 16 century compared to the neighbouring countries before the first known regular observations took place and even at the end ofthe Ancien Regime the numberof scientifically oriented observers was rather low. In the 18 th century, the first attempts to standardize instruments and procedures occurred. Practically, the temperature scales proposed by Reaumur, Fahrenheit and Celsius became universally used. The process of standardization was continued throughout the 19 th century and got much impetus when the National Meteorological Services (NMSs) were founded and ultimately when the International Meteorological Organisation (IMO) had its first meeting organised in Vienna in Although 18 th century meteorological observations are rather scarce in Belgium, they are of utmost importance for climatic change studies since they allow a calibration ofhistorical climatologic information that spans a much broader period. Nevertheless, itremains a difficult task to compare 18 th century observations with the ones of the second half ofthe 19 th and ofthe 20 th centuries. It was precisely this search for early instrumental meteorological observations for use in climatic reconstruction that, again and again, physicians appeared, leading ultimately to the theme ofthis paper. 3. Hippocrates ofkos Hippocrates ofkos ( B.C.) was one of the Greek physicians who started a new empirical approach towards the theory and practice of medicine. Although some doubts may exists among the historians about the authorship ofhis entire work, known as the 'Corpus Hippocraticum', those books dealing with the concept of weather and health especially "Airs, Waters, and Places", IrAforismes" and IIEpidemics I andill" are by his hand.. Hippocrates conceived health to be an expression of the balanced interplay between the organism as a whole and its environment. It was an interaction between physis' and environment as parts of the greater entity, life itself. He viewed 'dis-ease' as a difficulty in adjusting to
17 adverse effects created by the environment. When Hippocrates wrote about the environment, he had in mind much more than weather, season and climate. He emphasized the importance to health and disease of water, place, topography, and orientation to sun and winds. In his ''Airs, Waters, and Places", Hippocrates describes for the frrst time systematically the possible relationships between health and weather; he describes the environmental criteria ofdifferent cities in relation to health and illness, the weather conditions, the seasons, the epidemics, the relation between seasons and the medical treatment (Sargent, 1982; Cantor, 2001). Hippocrates' view on the relation between weather and health can be di,vided into two parts: first, one dealing with the succession of the seasons characterised as cold/warm and dry/wet, and second, one that can be seen as the prototype ofthe 'medical topography' that will so flourish in the 18 th and largely also in the 19 th centuries The neo-hippocratic hypothesis From the end ofthe 15 th century on, the works ofhippocrates mew many prints and in the late 17 th century a strong revival of the Hippocratic beliefs took place. English and Scottish physicians such as Thomas Sydenham ( ) and John Arbuthnot ( ) provided new interpretations. Sydenham said that the atmospheric conditions play a' significant role in the process of the illness, more precisely, he adopted the view that it were the atmospheric conditions that cause the epidemic constitutions. From these considerations, it is only a small step to Sydenham's programme of studying the correlation of the atmospheric conditions, the seasons and the illnesses. That interpretation and the revalidation of Hippocrates work is named the neo-hippocratic hypothesis. Sydenham's ideas received a large impact, and already, in his 'Opera omnia' published posthumously at Geneva around the mid of the 18 th century, many followers were making the connection between the occurrence of illnesses and the observations of the state of the weather (Sydenham, 1749).
18 18 Thomas Short (ca ) followed in Sydenham's footsteps and published a two-volume compilation work. HA General Chronological History ofthe Air, Weather, Seasons, Meteors, in Sundry Places and different Times, more practically for the Space of250 Years. Together with some of their most Remarkable Effects on Animal (especially Human) Bodies and Vegetables." In his foreword HPraelegomena to a General History ofthe Air and its Effects" he explains one ofhis goals, namely the prevention ofepidemics: HOf all the Diseases, Epidemics come often most unexpectedly, spread soonest, and are sometimes of the shortest Duration, though attended with the greatest Danger and Mortality, return seldom, and at uncertain times. " And he continues: HIn attempting the Cure ofepidemics, the late andpresent Winds, Air, Weather, Meteors, FoodandRise ofthe Disease, should not beforgotten. " The neo-hippocratic hypothesis led the 18 th century physician and natural scientist to investigate the relationship between climate and human health by associating the environmental factors with diseases, epidemics and epizootics. The action of the climate upon man is seen through the eyes ofthe physician as the effectofthe air that one breathes. In the Low-Countries, the neo-hippocratic hypothesis was promulgated by Herman Boerhaave (1, ), Petrus Van Musschenbroeck ( ) and David-Hieronymous Gaubius ( ) at Leyden University. Their influence in the Low Countries reached far into the 19 th century. It was one of Boerhaave's most famous students, James Jurin ( ), Secretary of the Royal Society at London who made the famous call for making meteorological observations. This call was basic for the existence of long time-series of medical-meteorological observations in the United Kingdom (Jurin, 1724; Manley, 1952; Rusnock, 2001). This neo-hippocratic hypothesis dealing with the relationship between weather, climate health, illness and environment has strongly influenced the scientific thinking and the scientific projects for more than one-and-ahalf century. Therefore, in the context of climatic changes, it is important
19 to understand how and why the 18 th century physicians were dealing with weather and medical constitutions. 19 s. The 'Societe de correspondence' and the 'Societe Royale de Medec;ne' in Paris It is legitimate to ask how this vision was implemented into a national project in France and what was the Belgian contribution to that project. In line with the concept of the French Academie Royale des Sciences, the French government took the initiative of founding a medical Correspondence Society (Anonymous, 1776) that soon evolved into the 'Societe Royale de Medecine'. What were the immediate causes leading to that initiative? The seventies of the 18 th century were marked by numerous epidemics and epizootics (Bruneel, 1979). Such epizootics also swept through our regions as can be seen from de Potter et al. (1875): "1769: de veepest woedde in 't Gentsche en op Hollandsch grondgebied - onmiddellijk werd er een wacht uitgezet die tot zending had den ingang van vee uit gemeld gewest te beletten; Mei 1770: de plaag vertoont zich te St Winnoksbergen (Fr.) en neemt er snelle uitbreiding; Juni 1770: ter hofstede van Pieter De Schodt, het vee wordt zonder verwijl afgemaakt, de plaag verspreidde zich als een loopend vuur in geheel de kastelnij van Veurne. Alle openbare veemarkten worden opgeschort, om de ziekte te be/etten door te dringen werden al de bruggen te Pervijze werden afgetrokken en het zoogenaamde gezondheidscordon wordt ook naar 't Houtland uitgezet. " In France the cattle pest broke out again in and got a large distribution (Hannaway, 1972). In 1774, at the occasion ofthe import ofa few infected skins a widespread epizootics originated and nearly one fifth of the livestock in Languedoc and in Gascoigne disappeared. These occurrences incited 'Minister' Turgot ( ), concerned for the problems of prosperity and public health, who saw clearly the consequences of such catastrophic cattle pest at the national scale,
20 20 witnessing that local actions weren't successful to get the epizootics under control, to take suitable measures. Turgot had published a decree of the State Council on the 29 th April 1776 that announced the foundation of a ucommission de Medecine aparis pour tenir correspondence avec les medecins de province, pour tout ce qui peut etre relative awe maladies epidemiques et epizootiques". Felix Vicq d'azyr ( ) was the secretary and all correspondence had to be addressed to him. This commission rapidly evolved to a full usociete Royale de Medecine" ~der the presidency ofjoseph-marie-franyois de Lassone ( ). The patent letters date from the 1st of September This Society would explicitly take care of the research and the history of epidemics and epizootics. A yearly competition was held on the possible subjects of: (a) the medical constitution of the seasons, this means the daily nosological information coupled to meteorological observations during a medical year (annus medicus); (b) a treatise on a specific epidemics, or the constitution ofa season during which particular illnesses occurred. Louis Cotte ( ) was appointed for the handling of the meteorological data. This already famous French meteorologist and observer was an Oratorian priest at Montmorency near Paris but also staid regularly at Laon. Cotte is the author of a two-volume meteorological standard treatise that refers at great length to the observations of the USociete de Medecine". Different Belgian physicians, and to name only a few of them, among them the Foreign Associated Fellows: Dumont, First Physician of Prince Charles at Brussels; Franyois-Xavier Burtin ( ), Physician of the same Prince; Robert de Limbourg ( ), Physician of the mineral waters at Spa, at Theux near Verviers; the Corresponding Fellows: Jean Baptiste Luc Planchon ( ) at Tournai; Vandenhende, physician at Bruges; Charles-Louis-Maximilien Brabant ( ), physician at Ghent; Joseph-Maximilien Duvivier ( ), physician at Mons; Jean Demeste ( ) at Liege; Nicolas Frannyois Joseph Eloy ( ) at Mons but also the agrometeorologisteugene Joseph d'olmen, Baron de Poederle ( ) at Brussels and at Saintes. All of them took part in this great endeavour and medico-meteorological reports were sent to the secretary in Paris.
21 21 Unfortunately, little has been conserved of this Belgian contribution in the archives of the Societe medicale in Paris. Vicq d'azyr mentions that Planchon at Toumai forwarded a series of tables with the constitution of the season and the prevailing illnesses since 1776 (Vicq d'azyr, 1805). No trace of these reports could be found. The meteorological observations for the year 1781 by Demeste in Liege and those of de Limbourg at Theux for the month of June 1777 were the only ones that could be traced. It needs to be said that a similar initiative was taken by David Gaubius at The Hague in The Netherlands under the name of "Natuur- en Geneeskundige Correspondentie-Societeit in de Vereenigde Nederlanden". This resulted in the publication of four important volumes holding medico-meteorological observations in The Netherlands (Anonymous, 1783; Geurts en van Engelen, 1983/1992). In this way, the largest medical enquiry of the 18 th century started; the project continued until 1794 (Desaive et ai., 1972; Beaurepaire, 1994). The SYmbiosis of the approach of the epidemics, as well as by the French government as by the Societe Royalede Medecine, led to a clear win-win situation. For the Societe Royale de Medecine, the scientific views of those days on the subject of the relation between weather, climate, location, and epidemics based upon the classical theory of Hippocrates emerged as an organis.ational programme in which the French government believed to find its benefits in combating epidemics and epizootics. In this context, the Societe de Medecine functioned as an advisory body for the French State and its representatives in the provinces for the elaboration ofthe outlined programme. 6. Examples ofthe neo-hippocratic hypothesis In this section, examples, including a few counter examples, of the neohippocratic hypothesis will be given. The examples were taken from a slightly larger Belgium. Looking over 'De Schreve', the so-named present-day borderline between Belgium and France, cases from the
22 22 Departement du Pas-de-Calais and the Departement du Nord are included in this paper. As early as June 1757, the physician Pierre Joseph Boucher (1715 ca.1789) starts with the monthly publication in the "Recueil periodique d'observations de Medecine. Chirurgie, Pharmacie, &c." of a longlasting series of medico-physical observations (Boucher, 1757). This publication continues until the year 1789 (Schmeltz, 1891; Grenier, 1996). Later on, Boucher will also communicate his observations to the Societe Royale de Medecine at Paris. As it suits well the ideas of that time, Boucher starts his first observations with a description of the climate in the town of Lille, in fact an early medico-topography of our region. Fully in the style of Hippocrates' "Airs, Waters and Places" Boucher describes the location ofthe town: HLa ville de Lille est assise sur un terrain plat, dont le fond est presque tout marecageux: c 'est ce qu'indiquent les eaux louches et le fond noiriitre de la Deule, riviere qui traverse cette ville du midi au nord.". HLa ville se trouve percee par des belles & larges rues; et ses biitimens ne sont pas assez eleves pour s 'opposer au renouvellement convenable de I'air. " HLes brouillards y sont assezfrequens; ce qui, joint au pluies abondantes & suivies qu'amenent les vents de sud & d'ouest, rend les rhumes & les fluxions catharrales comme endemiques. " Concerning the second item in his programme, namely the meteorological observations, Boucher tells us in a footnote that he reads his thermometer twice a day: in the morning between 6 and 7 o'clock, and in the afternoon between 2 and 3 o'clock, which can be used as a reasonable approximation for the daily minimum and maximum. In connexion with the third item of his programme, Boucher tries to match the meteorological conditions with the reigning illnesses as can be seen in the following: HLes vents du Nord qui ont souffle presque tout le mois, ont cause vers la fin du mois des fluxions de poitrine dangereuses, des maux de gorge
23 inflammatoires & des ophtalmies, qui ont rien exige de particulier dans la cure. Peu de personnes ont succombe aces diverses maladies. " Similarly, J.-T.-B. Desmars, physician at Boulogne-sur-Mer, writes a treatise on the air, the soil and the waters ofthis harbour town (Desmars, 1759 & 1761). He continues in 1767 with a translation of Hippocrates' "Epidemics" from the Greek and adds several texts dealing with medical observations. Jean Baptiste Luc Planchon, one of the Belgian corresponding fellows of the Societe Royale de Medecine in Paris, writes in his "Dissertation sur la fievre miliaire" that the de "Vicissitudes de I'air, son humidite, sa froideur, les situations des lieux ou I'athmosphere est humide & nebuleux, son! des causes qui disposen! a cette maladie." (planchon, 1772, 1778, 1794) Theodore Augustin Mann ( ), abbot of the English Carthusian monastery in Nieuport and later permanent Secretary of the Theresian Academy in Brussels, carries out meteorological observations in Nieuport (Mann, , 1780; Demaree et a!., 1994, 1998). In section IV "Sur l'influence du Sol & de I'Atmosphere de la Flandre maritime sur la sante des habitans: nature de leurs maladies" of his Memoir on the natural History ofthe maritime Low-Countries Mann uses Hippocrates to describe the relation between the illnesses of maritime Flanders and its rivers, canals and ponds with their exhalations or miasmas. lion n'a guere doute, depuis Hippocrate, que la plupart des maladies, tant epidemiques qu'endemiques, ne tirent leur origine de la nature & des qualites du sol, du climat & des saisons. Si donc on avoit une connoissance exacte, fondee sur une longue suite d 'observations, des bonnes ou mauvaises qualites de I'air, du sol & des eaux de chaque lieu, des saisons & leurs variations qui y regnent, du temperament de ses habitans, on seroit a meme de prevoir les maladies, & en quelque sorte de les prevenir. " The same Academy held a competition in 1778 on: "Decrire la temperature la plus ordinaire des saisons aux Pays-Bas, & en indiquer les influences, tant sur l'economie animale 9ue vegetale; marquer les 23
24 24 suites facheuses que peuvent avoir des changemens notables dans cette temperature, avec les moyens d y obvier." Unfortunately, the award winning author, the physician Retz of Arras, didn't bring any new meteorological observations from Belgium but used exclusively already published data from The Netherlands (Retz, 1779). Guillaume Daignan ( ), a military physician at Saint Gmer, writes a treatise on the salutary effects of brandy in the cold, humid, swampy Low Countries (Daignan, 1777). In the beginning of the 19 th century, Daignan provides evidence in his long-lasting career ofpractices fully confirming the theory of Hippocrates recorded in the illnesses that reigned among the habitants of the maritime regions of the North (Daignan, ). Eloy, physician at Mons, not having kept a register of the daily variation of the atmospheric conditions and their influence upon the barometer and the thermometer, refers in his memoir on the dysentery in Hainault in the year 1779 to the meteorological observations carried out by de Poederle (Eloy, 1780). Van Dorpe, physician at Courtrai, carried out himself meteorological observations for his study of the dysentery epidemics in 1794 (Van Dorpe, 1795). Petrus Johannes van Bavegem ( ), physician at Baasrode near Dendermonde, writes on the devastating fevers, named "rotkoors" and "roodeloop" that have re~gned the last ten to twelve years in the Low Countries and have caused many victims. This author also makes the relation with the environment by stating "0ok was het noodig voortaen aue Fabriquen, welkers Damp en Stank de Lugt besmetten, verre buiten de Steden wierden gebouwt. " (Van Bavegem, 1788/1789/1790; Van de Velde, 1946; Velle, 1985, 1998). A similar remark was found in the meteorological papers of Baron de Poederle when he describes an epidemic that occurred in Brussels and he noticed that the more densely inhabited popular quarters were hit more severely by the" mortality; he ascribes this fact to the less good environmental conditions in the urban slums. Both of them can therefore be considered as environmentalists "avant la lettre".